Police officers aren’t like college professors. They don’t have the luxury of being wrong. If the officer had simply left, and there was an intruder in Gates’s home who later attacked the professor, it would be on the officer’s conscience for the rest of his life, because he wouldn’t have done his job.
Home invasion is apparently a concern in Cambridge. Another Post reporter used to live there, and wrote about how difficult it is for a black man to deal with the police. But he also noted that when being dropped off at his apartment, “I’d insist the taxi driver wait until I was safely inside. I lived alone and wanted to make sure the place was empty.” So maybe there’s a reason the police would want to make sure the house was secure.
Bobo isn’t finished with his in-depth explanation. “Maybe this situation had something to do with Harvard University and social class,” he wrote. “It is possible that one element of what happened involved a policeman with working-class roots who faced an opportunity to ‘level the playing field’ with a successful Harvard professor.”
Well. I myself don’t know whether Sgt. James Crowley has “working-class roots.” Perhaps Bobo has personal knowledge of the officer and his life circumstances. If not, then it’s the professor who’s engaged in stereotyping here. Must all officers have “working-class roots”?
A photograph of the incident shows Gates, handcuffed, yelling at officers. A white officer is holding his hands out in a calming gesture. And a black officer has turned his back on the hollering prof. If this is about race, why didn’t that black cop demand that Gates be uncuffed? Or is he merely blinded by his “working-class” prejudices, too?
In a prime-time news conference, President Obama took a clearly staged question so he could talk about the incident. “The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,” he opined. Not if they just wanted him to wait outside so they could do their jobs.
What’s stupid is trying to gin up a racial incident in 2009, when race relations in this country have never been better, as Obama admits and his election illustrates. It’s not the police who are trying to do that. It’s the profs.